In which I cannot brain

The following are somehow both true:

  • That I have had, all told, a spectacularly productive Wednesday thus far, having accomplished a number of both work-related and non-work-related tasks that needed doing (and I could get really fuckin’ used to this idea of teaching four days a week and having one day for, effectively, administrative tasks)
  • That there has not been a single second yet today where I have felt like I had a good grip on what I was supposed to be doing at that time, or what I should be doing next.

Executive disfunction for the win, I guess. I’ve spent all day convinced I’m forgetting the important thing I’m supposed to be doing and going “Okay, I’ll get <insert minor thing done here> while I think about it and eventually I’ll remember what I’m supposed to be working on right now.”

Has my cellphone destroyed my short-term memory over the years, or can I blame this on advanced age?

In which I had something for this

I’m on at least three post ideas for today so far, and by “post ideas” I mean I came up with something, thought “Okay, that’s today’s post,” and then promptly forgot what the hell it was before I had a chance to put it into writing. So that’s how my day is going so far.

I did manage to get my work tasks squared away early today, by not bothering with the instructional video (tomorrow’s material is the same as today’s, so rather than recording something myself I just linked to someone else’s) and getting the assignment written while working in the Meet and doing other things. Sometimes it’s kinda fun to yell “give me a number!” at a half-dozen kids and then write a math problem about it.

I’m also reaching that point in the week– and it’s alarming to realize that it’s only Tuesday– where my eyes could definitely benefit from doing less staring at screens for a little while.

Actually, there’s this, which I think was one of the things: I had to go to my local Ace Hardware to buy a flagpole earlier, because I’m finally getting around to putting the pride flag in front of my house that I have wanted to put up since last June. And, y’all, we need to protect our retail workers, okay? Because the item I bought ended up not being in their system for some reason, and it took all of five whole minutes before the manager finally shrugged and charged me for a slightly different flagpole (which, whatever; I hadn’t even looked for a price, I just grabbed the one I wanted and headed to the counter) and I think during that five minutes I was apologized to for my incredibly minor inconvenience at least a dozen times by at least three or four different people. And you could just tell that everybody was waiting for me to completely lose my shit about it, and it’s like … yeah, I have so many more important things to worry about right now than this that I don’t even have the energy to reach “this is not your fault but I’m annoyed anyway” level annoyed. Oh, darn, I had to wait five whole minutes.

And you just know that these folks have gotten the shit kicked out of them recently about something similar, right? Because motherfuckers have allowed themselves to get completely out of control lately, and while filming these fools and putting it on the Internet has gotten rather popular I think it might be time to start upgrading to actual intervention. Nobody should be this nervous about this minor of a thing, and it wasn’t just the cashier, it was everyone I encountered in the store.

The flag’s gonna look nice, by the way. We’ve taken it down already to get the folds pressed out, but I hung it up long enough to take a picture, which the wind promptly made twice as complicated as it needed to be. But nonetheless:

In which cell phones ruin everything

We are all, I think, familiar with the idea that modern technology has managed to degrade our abilities to do things that we used to be able to do and now no longer need to. The most common casualty of this for most people, I think, is the ability to easily remember phone numbers. I used to know phone numbers for at least a couple dozen people at any given time, and right now I know four– mine, my parents’ home line, which has been their number for my entire life, my dad’s work phone number for some reason, and on a good day, my wife’s, which keeps getting interfered with by something else and I can only recall with some difficulty. It’s just not necessary any longer to commit random strings of ten or seven numbers to memory. Could we recapture this ability if we needed to? Sure. Our brains haven’t actually degraded, there’s just a very specific skill that we used to need that we don’t anymore, and so we don’t have it.

I got caught by surprise by something this morning, though. I was at my mom and dad’s house and the land line rang and I answered it. And it took me a few seconds longer than it probably should have to realize that it was my brother on the other end of the line, especially since he 1) recognized my voice, 2) commented on how he was surprised that I was there to answer the phone, and 3) referred to Mom and Dad as “Mom” and “Dad.” For a split second I thought he was one of my older cousins who it would not be completely unreasonable to hear use those words, and then the world kind of snapped back together around me and I realized what was going on and felt a little stupid.

Thing is, though, when was the last time I needed to recognize someone’s voice over the phone? It basically never happens any more. I see who’s calling before I answer the phone to begin with– and, for me at least, if I don’t recognize the number of the person calling I don’t answer the phone. So this scenario where someone calls me and just starts talking and I need their voice to tell me who they are just never happens any longer.

I mean, it was my brother. I should have recognized his voice, obviously, and I’m going to blame a combination of my head being in a weird place at the time and my first time being on a land line in a while for my sudden weird phonagnosia, which is a word I just learned. But still. Before cell phones a solid majority of my phone calls didn’t involve anyone saying their name; folks would just start talking and we’d know who it was. That doesn’t happen anymore. Makes me wonder what the next ability that I have now that I won’t need in twenty years will be.

Probably something involving surviving in a world with electricity and air conditioning, because climate change will have ensured the collapse of society, but hey! It could be something else, right?

Random question for the olds

4899194035_30ee19703f_oI’m guessing you’d need to be at least 30-35 for your answer to this question to matter to me– old enough that you spent your life on analog/wired phones, and that you bought *yourself* your first cell phone.  Two questions:

1) Do you actually remember getting your first cell phone?  Like, was it an Event?  Can you describe the phone, or nail down what year it was that you bought it?

2) Can you remember sending or receiving your first text message?  (Preferably, for the purposes of this question, these two events did not occur on the same day– in other words, you had a cell phone before text messages were a Thing.)

Just curious.  And, for the record, I’m just as interested in the “no” answers as the “Yes, this is when it was” answers, so if you don’t remember one of the two, let me know.  Thanks.

Daily Prompt: An Ounce of Home

(Doing the Daily Post today.  Why?  Because a part of my Writing Process that I didn’t talk about a couple of days ago is that occasionally I get blocked out of my damn mind and spend four hours staring at a computer screen like a jackass.  Which is what I’ve been doing this morning in between half-assed attempts to figure out a way to market my book/blog/Twitter feed/entire life.  Screw it; YOU tell ME what to write about.

Of course, now that I’ve typed that, I gotta go wander around my house until I can figure out what the answer is.  BAH.)

You’re embarking on a yearlong round-the-world adventure, and can take only one small object with you to remind you of home. What do you bring along for the trip?

(Seriously, walks around the house for ten minutes.)

Wait.

Going about this shit all wrong.  Small object?  Cool, I’m bringing a cell phone.  Loaded to the gills with pictures and videos and oh, wait, you can call people with that too?  Awesome.

Oh, that’s cheating?  Okay.

(There’s no rules!  It’s not cheating!  Shut up!)

Fine.  This:

photoThat?  Is my thinkin’ rock, and chances are I should have gone and gotten it out of my desk before now, because my brain’s all screwed up and useless today and I kinda need it.  It’s a rock, with a depression in it to rub your thumb on.  It is a singularly useless object.

Except.

Here’s what you’re really doing when you’re bringing something to “remind you of home.”  You’re bringing something with you to stimulate thinking.  The thinkin’ rock (I swear WordPress you correct thinkin’ to thinking’ one more time and I’ll kill you) is surprisingly calming, actually, for something that literally only exists to provide you a surface to rub your thumb on.  You’d think you could rub your thumb on just about anything, provided it wasn’t, like, sharp or something:  no!  The thinkin’ rock is literally specifically designed for thumb-rubbing.  It’s better!

(It’s also not as… wet?… as it looks in the picture, which makes it look kinda creepy.)

Thinkin’ rock reminds me to think.  Thinking, in this case, is the same as reminiscing, which a good way to kick back and think about your family.

Better, mind you, to bring them with you.  Or at least the damn phone.  But I’ll take the rock too.  I got big pockets.